A(+) is for apple pie.

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Is there any (non-chocolate) dessert so compelling as a slice of warm apple pie, topped with vanilla ice cream?

Is there any baking challenge so daunting, so fraught with anxiety, so filled with high expectations (and so liable to shipwreck on the rocky shores of failure) as apple pie?

Methinks not.

Mealsothinks fear of apple pie is totally unfounded.

I admit, making pie crust isn’t nearly as simple as stirring together muffin batter or beating up cookie dough. The ultimate flaky, buttery pie crust is something I’ve been chasing for years. And haven’t yet captured.

But after decades of baking pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas; after a trip to the orchard or the berry patch, or simply as the result of finding frozen peaches on sale, I’ve become an OK crust baker.

And OK homemade crust, IMHO, beats frozen supermarket crust hands-down – if not for ease of preparation, then certainly for the list of ingredients. Just take a look at the nutrition panel of a frozen pie crust sometime. Here’s a sample:

“Enriched Flour Bleached (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Partially Hydrogenated Lard with BHA and BHT Added to Protect Flavor, Wheat Starch, Water, Contains 2% or Less of: Salt, Rice Flour, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Propionate (Preservatives), Citric Add, Yellow 5 and Red 40.”

Compare that to what’s in your homemade crust: flour, salt, butter, shortening, and water.

Don’t like shortening? Make that flour, salt, butter, and water.

Thanksgiving’s coming. Think what a hero you’ll be if you bring The Best Apple Pie Ever to the festivities!

If you’ve got a favorite recipe, dust it off and start thinking about apple varieties.

If you’ve never baked an apple pie – have I got a recipe for you!

Come on, take my hand – we’ll do this together.

First, the apples.

Here in Vermont, we’re exceedingly privileged to have access to TONS of good apples every fall: crisp, juicy, just-picked gems of every variety imaginable. And here at King Arthur we’re right next door to Killdeer Farms’ stand, which makes “apple picking” a simple matter of browsing the selection.

Hmmm, which should I choose? With 26 varieties, I could bake apple pie every day for weeks, and still not try them all!

Well, there’re always Cortlands, the old standby of many an apple-pie baker.

These crab apples are gorgeous, but way too small; I’d be forever peeling and coring them!

After happy minutes spent perusing the selection, and reading the description of each, I finally made my decision.

Green Mountain Granny (l), and Northern Spy (r).

Next, the crust. Shall I use my favorite flour in the whole world, King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour?

 

Or our Perfect Pastry Blend, a lower-protein flour perfect for pie crust, biscuits, cookies, scones, and other tender baked goods?

Today, I’ll go with King Arthur AP. Just because I know you all have it in your kitchen (or SHOULD have it, considering it’s the world’s best flour: no brag, just fact.)

Try the Perfect Pastry Blend when you get a chance, though; it’s awesome for the tender side of your baking repertoire.

Put the following in a bowl:

2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Perfect Pastry Blend
3/4 teaspoon salt*
1/3 cup vegetable shortening

*If you plan on using salted butter in the next step, reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

Cut in the shortening until it’s in uneven lumps, up to the size of small peas.

Dice 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter into 1/2″ pieces, and add them to the bowl.

Work the butter into the mixture until you have flakes the size of your fingernail.

Dribble in 7 to 10 tablespoons ice water, stopping when the dough comes together.

When you can squeeze the dough together like this – without any crumbs falling off – it’s good to go.

Divide the dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. The larger piece will be the bottom crust.

When I made this pie, the total weight of the crust was 20 ounces; I divvied the dough into 11-ounce and 9-ounce pieces.

Roll each of the disks on its side, like a wheel, to smooth out the edges. This step will ensure your dough will roll out evenly, without a lot of cracks and splits at the edges.

Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, while you make the filling.

Dough can be refrigerated overnight; let it warm at room temperature for 15 minutes or so before rolling.

I’ll start with the Green Mountain Grannies – between 3 and 4 pounds should do it. And my handy-dandy apple peeler/corer/slicer. Just stick an apple on the prongs, turn the handle, and it’s peeled, cored, and sliced – in under 10 seconds.

A few quick strokes with a knife…

…yield perfect apple pieces.

Your goal: 8 cups sliced apples.

Put the apples in a large bowl.

Put the following in a bowl:

3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Whisk to combine.

Drizzle the apples with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Toss to combine.

Had I done this sooner, right after the apples were peeled, they wouldn’t have browned so much. But I figure, heck, they’ll brown anyway as they bake; so why sweat the small stuff?

Here it comes, my absolute favorite apple pie secret ingredient: boiled cider. I’m using 1/4 cup boiled cider here to heighten the flavor of the apples.

Don’t have boiled cider? Use maple syrup, or honey, or undiluted apple juice concentrate. Or nothing at all, if that’s your preference.

Toss to combine.

Add the dry ingredients.

Toss to combine.

THOROUGHLY combine. The apples will begin to get syrupy.

Now, back to the crust.

Start with the larger piece of dough. Place it on a well-floured surface; our rolling mat makes rolling and cleanup easy.

Roll the dough into an even circle.

Pick it up occasionally as you roll, to make sure it isn’t sticking. Thank you, giant spatula – my favorite pie buddy.

I’ve rolled the crust into a 12” circle here, but 13” is actually better, especially if you’ll be using a 1 1/2”-deep pie pan. Do as I say, not as I do!

Lightly grease a 9” pie pan; it should be about 1 1/2” deep, and certainly no shallower than 1 1/4”.

Why grease the pan? Doesn’t the crust have enough fat in it so it won’t stick?

Just a little trick I use with apple pie. I’ve found that apple pies can be VERY juicy, and some of the juice inevitably boils up, over, and down the side of the crust into the bottom of the pan. Greasing the pan makes it easier to get slices out intact.

Pick up the crust…

…and place it in the pan.

I like to sprinkle some coarse, dry bread crumbs, such as Panko, into the bottom of the crust; they help soak up any excess apple juice, which helps keep the bottom crust nice and crisp.

Heap the filling in the crust, and dot with 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces.

Roll the top crust into an 11” circle, and gently lay it atop the filling. Press the top and bottom crusts together to seal.

Press with a fork…

…or crimp.

Like this.

Prick or slash the top of the crust. This lets steam escape, hopefully preventing the dreaded “filling sunken far below the crust” effect.

If desired, brush the crust with milk or cream…

…and sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar.

Time to start heating the oven to 425°F.

I like to give the pie a good chill in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking. This helps solidify the butter and fat in the crust, which encourages flakiness.

Place the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 425°F, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 40 minutes more, until you see the filling bubbling.

This is exactly why you bake pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Imagine scraping that mess off the floor of your oven!

Remove the pie from the oven, leaving it right on the baking sheet, to catch any further drips.

Boy, the “A” for apple looks really lame. Next time I’ll just cut some plain old slashes.

But never minds its looks. This pie is flat-out tasty. Dig in!

But please, not until it’s completely cool. It’s far better to let the pie cool completely, then rewarm individual slices briefly in the microwave; than to cut into a hot pie, remove one slice, and see half the filling flow into the breach.

Apple pie really isn’t the most distinguished or handsome pie out there; I mean, if lemon meringue is regal, apple is the embodiment of humble. But oh, the tangy-sweet apple flavor, touched with cinnamon… the tender crust flaking into shards under its burden of filling… Doesn’t this just invite you to pick up a fork and have at it?

OK, let’s wrap up that apple experiment we started with. I made this same recipe with Northern Spy apples – and it was wonderful, superior to the Green Mountain Grannies. The folks on our Facebook page told me Northern Spies were awesome; guys, you were right!

Oh, and one more thing: I wanted to test assembling the pie ahead (but not baking it); freezing it, then baking it later. Here’s what I found: it’s much better to thaw a frozen pie in the fridge overnight, then bake; than to bake it straight from the freezer. The bake time for a frozen pie is so long, the crust dries out before the filling is cooked.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Guaranteed Apple Pie.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. purpleterrapinspam

    hehe, instead of an “A”, I usually cut a vent in the shape of an apple with a stem and leaf.

    You’re more of an “artiste” than I – but heck, looking at my “A,”, ANYONE is more of an artiste! :) PJH

    Reply
  2. Teresa

    I liked your ‘A.’ It’s pretty against the nice brown top. The pie looks terrific and tasty. I like the tip to roll the dough edge before chilling to make rolling easier with fewer cracks. I always seem to end up with no very round crusts.

    And you know what, Teresa? I bet the ragged edges disappear anyway, once you’re dne with all the pressing and crimping. As much as I fuss over it, pie crust is ultimately very forgiving… Hope your Thanksgiving pies are terrific this year! PJH

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  3. scttwoolsey

    You should try the Calville Blanc D’hiver next year PJ. They are nicely vinous in flavor and hold their shape very well, plus have that nice pie apple tartness. I sometimes add in a few apples like the chestnut crabs you photographed to lend depth to the flavor. My lazy secret: I don’t peel the little ones! Thanks for shopping with us!

    PS: Green Mountain Granny’s are not in any way a granny smith relative, they are just Don Harlow’s brilliant marketing ploy to sell unripe mutsus (aka crispin)!

    Scott, I should have asked you to come browse with me. Next year we’ll select the apples together… I can totally see using the crab apples if all I had to do were core them. And thanks for the Granny/Mutsu/Crispin info. You’re the (apple) MAN! :) PJH

    Reply
  4. erolb1

    My solution to freezing apple pies is to just freeze the filling, in ziplock bags that each contain one pie’s worth. I can then thaw a bag of filling, and put it in a fresh-made crust.

    Bags of filling store more compactly in the freezer than whole pies, and I can avoid the complications of freezing & thawing pie crust.

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  5. karalsimpson

    PJ, I’m so excited because I’m definitely making the apple pie for Thanksgiving this year. I have always helped my mom (she uses the Better Home and Gardens recipe from 1965…!) and this is the first year I’ll be away (with my husbands family) so it’s up to me!

    I finally bought the boiled cider and I just know it will be amazing! We in recent years have forgone the top crust and actually made a crumb topping to make a sort of half pie/half crisp and it’s been fabulous! Would you not do the dotting of butter you think since crumb topping has butter in it? I’m decorating mine with those pretty leaf cut-outs this year :) Thanks as always! Your pictures are always so helpful.

    Karal, I don’t think the butter in the topping will seep down into the filling much; I’d still add the butter, but I’d melt it and drizzle it over the filling, then add the topping. Good luck with your first boiled cider apple pie! PJH

    Reply
  6. Lori on Little Traverse Bay

    PICK UP the pie dough with the GIANT SPATULA! What a great tip! No more torn dough to be patched up in the pie tin. I have an underused GIANT SPATULA that will now be making an appearance for Thanksgiving. ; )

    Keep it handy, Lori – I use mine a LOT…PJH

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  7. Rebekah Randolph

    Confession. I rarely peel my pie apples, only for very special occasions– I’m lazy. And there’s so much nutrition in the peel, which softens up in the oven anyway. Nobody seems to care. With all those spices and the caramelized juices and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, what’s a bit of peel?

    Also, if anyone is scared away by the “gaping space between filling and crust” possibility, just make a crumb-top pie. No air pockets!

    By the way, the KAF website was where I learned to bake my pies at a lower temperature for a longer time– you were totally right, the fruit cooks down and caramelizes and bubbles, and the pie just goes up another notch. Thank you!!

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  8. Sandra

    Oh, this is so unfair! I make a lovely apple pie but I’m trying not to give in to temptation for the sake of my waistline – or lack of it!
    The recipe I use, has a tsp of vanilla extract tossed in with the apples, sugar and cinnamon. Yummmmm!
    The shortening in the crust definitely helps with the flaking of the pastry though.
    If I do manage to spill on the oven I am so pleased mine is a self cleaning one! Just leave the oven on for 2 hours and it is spotless with a self clean function! (Well worth thinking of if replacing an old one!)

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  9. bonniewhite

    Oh, the dreaded “filling-sunken-WAY-lower-than-the-crust” debacle. This happens to me much too often, and I always slash the top crust. Come to think of it, I can’t slash my sourdough loaves worth a darn, either. I must have some sort of slashing affliction :( The “firm but quick” approach has resulted in nothing more than scaring the dog.

    Maybe one day I will master it.

    One thing you can do to solve it (but I’m too lazy) is to pre-cook the filing enough that it “settles down” – that way, as it bakes, the filling will only settle fractionally, and the top crust will go with it… At any rate, be careful with those sharp knives around children and animals! :) PJH

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  10. Bridgid

    I like the “A” on top too. I bought the beautiful cut out design maker that is in the catalog for pie crusts. It looks like lattice meets Pennsylvania Dutch design. Perhaps one of these days you’ll showcase that item? Your pie looks fabulous. I mean fabulous.

    My secret for apple pie is using a combo of Granny Smith & Golden Delicious.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends at King Arthur.

    And a happy, peaceful, and relaxed Thanksgiving to you, too, Bridgid – PJH

    Reply
  11. epicharis

    What a gorgeous-looking pie! I admit my favorite apple pie recipe is one of yours—the “Sue’s Favorite Apple Pie”, using heavy whipping cream and just a few apples. It is one of the most unique pies I’ve ever made but also one of the best. My thanks to the inventor!

    Northern Spies are probably my favorite pie apple. There’s a wonderful variety, available only from late September to late October, known as the Rubyjon. It’s got a relatively soft flesh but a flavor like none other I’ve ever encountered. I keep meaning to use it in recipes but about five seconds after I pick it up it gets eaten!

    Many happy returns to everyone at King Arthur…please keep up the traditional holiday treat posts, they’re lovely. Food is so much more fun when you have the history behind it!

    I’ll tell Sue Gray, our baker extraordinaire and the woman behind our King Arthur mixes, that her apple pie recipe resonates with you – thanks for sharing. And thanks for the info. about Rubyjons (have never seen those up here), and for your kind words. PJH

    Reply
  12. bamw21

    Interesting that you mention Northern Spy apples. We always thought they were the best. But now we find, living in Ct., that non of the orchards grow them and, in fact, we have yet to find anyone who has even heard of them. We also use to use gravenstein or stine, not sure of the spelling, but those are also unheard of here.
    We do have lots of wonderful orchards near us. Not sure if it’s the difference in climate or what that these apples are unheard of in this location.
    The orchards did have trouble with the apple crops this year. More rain than wanted. Consequently apples are small and less tasty than in better weather years.

    Reply
  13. faddiss

    I grew up back east (Upstate New York) where apple choices are amazing. I live in Oregon now and the choices for apple are sad. Seeing the amazing choices you have made me jealous. I limp along with what is available and use three different kinds of apple in my pies.
    Well, don’t feel so bad, we had a less than great apple season in our area (the Upper Valley). A warmer than normal spring followed by the usual spring frost hurt many local orchards this year. Very little output was the end result. We may be eating apples from your part of the country due to the shortage here! Elisabeth

    Reply
  14. mrsi53

    I have homemade cocoanut and peanut butter pies cooling on the counter. After reading and drooling over this I want to whip up another batch of crust and make an apple with the apples (Cortland) that we picked in an orchard while we were in Maine a couple weeks ago!

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  15. cotufita

    Hi there, it’s that time of the year again. Apple pie is my favorite pie. I always use different kind of apples, the result is great. Your pie sure looks great, yummy and don’t worry about the A.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

    And Happy Thanksgiving to you, too – eat the pie first! :) PJH

    Reply
  16. whalen99

    Can you publish the all butter recipe for the crust – I do not use hydrogenated fats so the shortening must be replaced

    Thanks
    T.K. Whalen

    You can interchange the fats in King Arthur’s Pie Crust and use all butter if you prefer. Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  17. zairesabode

    My mom and I baked together, but pies were not her ‘thing’. So it wasn’t til college that a boyfriend’s British mom took me in hand one Thanksgiving. She not only taught me her technique, but gave me her family recipes for super flaky crust and mincemeat, too. How great that 40 years later you, PJ and KAF, are giving me new hints to try this year! Last year I started using the Perfect Pastry Blend with great success and I love the Sparkling Sugar as an alternate to the cinnamon sugar I often use. But I’d never thought of spraying the pie pan or freezing the pie before baking! (And I can’t resist doing your Pumpkin Pie recipe this year with the bit of pepper in it!) It’s always such a pleasure to visit with you.
    With thanks and warm Thanksgiving wishes to you all,
    Tory

    We relish the comments from our customer/bakers – novice to expert! Enjoy the holidays, Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  18. Margie

    I will need to put this pie together two days before Thanksgiving. Which of the following would be better – either: a) bake two days in advance or b) refrigerate on Tuesday, bake on Wednesday and eat on Thursday? If you have another suggestion I am all ears! Thanks.
    I’d suggest make and freeze on Tues, thaw overnight Weds, and then bake and eat on Thurs. Mmmm, pie!
    ~ MaryJane

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  19. barbm1151

    I had posted a comment earlier, wondering about a printable version of the A apple pie. As I stated, if I were to print it out from here it would be 39 pages.
    Click on “printable version” at the top of the recipe page. If you print from the main recipe page, it will include every comment posted. Hope this helps. ~ MaryJane

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  20. Lorraine Miner

    I can’t believe you didn’t suggest “Pie Filling Enhancer” instead of flour in your filling. It is one of my favorite King Arthur products.
    Nice pie! Happy Thanksgiving.

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  21. jstoerm

    to pick up the dough, I gently roll it around the rolling pin, then gently UN roll it over the top of the pie…works like a charm!!
    True story, I used to do the same thing until I got my silicone rolling pin with the ball bearings. Rolling the dough around the barrel went fine, until I moved and it rolled and my dough went rolling down to the table like a wet towel complete with flapping sounds. I’m glad you can get this to work for you though, it is a handy trick. ~ MaryJane

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  22. LeeB

    You all must be psychic. I came to the KA website with a few questions about apple pies, discovered this blog AND discovered that the questions I had that were not already answered in the blog itself were answered by the good people commenting! Yay!
    Now I will go slice up my hodgepodge mix of apples, add the filling ingredients and freeze it up in ziptop bags. Tomorrow I”ll make the crusts and then put it all together on turkey day!
    Thanks everyone!

    Reply
  23. sylvanaire

    What a fabulous blog about Apple Pie, I’ve learned so much!

    One thing I’d still like to ask, is how do you get the bottom crust to cook/ brown? The last Apple Pie I made, the bottom crust never even cooked. It was pale and soggy and disgusting. I ended up throwing the whole thing away. Blech. What a waste of effort! I like the tip to put bread crumbs in the bottom of the pan before adding the apples, because flour alone doesn’t do the trick for me.

    And what the heck is boiled cider, lol? I’ve lived in Maine for 40 years and never heard of it! is it a special product? Or do you just boil regular cider? Also, in addition to the lemon juice, how do you not end up with a way too juicy (read soggy) pie?

    Thanks! I’m so happy I found your website!

    We’re happy you found this Web site, too – welcome! Boiled cider is cider boiled down till it’s thick, like molasses. You can do it at home, very carefully; 1 gallon of cider takes about 6 hours, and boils down to about 2 cups. But as I say, you have to be VERY careful at the end, because it goes from perfect to scorched-tasting in a blink of the eye, and then you’ve wasted all that time and ruined a gallon of cider. We sell boiled cider – it’s kinda pricey, but a little goes a long way. As for crust: a few things you can do. Blind bake the crust first (bake without filling, filled with dry beans or pie weights) until it’s golden. Or bake the entire pie for 2 to 2 1/2 hours at 350°F, tenting the entire top with foil about 90 minutes in, or when it seems nearly brown enough. Or bake the regular way, but use a dark metal pie pan, and put it on the lowest rack of the oven, preferably inside a cast iron skillet, if it fits. Any of those should produce a nicely browned bottom crust. Good luck! PJH

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  24. Carolyn

    Can I construct this pie today then leave it in the refrigerator overnight and bake it tomorrow? Or would it be better to freeze it today after it’s constructed, thaw it overnight, then bake it tomorrow? Thanks!

    Don’t refrigerate an uncooked apple pie! The sugar and filling will create a soggy crust. Some bakers out there bake their apple pie, then freeze, while others freeze the pie before it is baked. If you are crunched for time, your freezing method (before it is baked) sounds like the best choice for you. You may need to add 20 minutes to the baking time. Irene @ KAF

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  25. Rob

    Whoops! Add me to the list of people who didn’t “get” what boiled cider was- I was thinking pasteurized. I wish I’d seen the cider comment before I made my pie. It turned out a little soupy. On the plus side, the top crust was great, and those always give me troubles! I still liked the pie even if it was messy.

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  26. jhwkdoc

    Question about doneness. I bake my pies in a dark nonstick removable bottom tart pan. I follow your guide, freezing filled pie before baking. I start in well heated (425) oven with a pizza stone on bottom rack. Pie pan goes directly on pizza stone. Bake 25 min until top golden then decrease to 375 and bake about 35 min longer until the top and sides are well browned, the filling is bubbling slowly. The bottom crust is the problem. The bottom crust is not brown in the center. The outer rim of the bottom crust is brown but the center is pale and soft. Is this due to using tart pan, or not baking long enough? If the bottom crust is not brown by 1 hour what is the odds it will ever fully brown even with more baking time? I like the tart pan for the presentation of the finished pie but the bottom crust is less than I hope for. Any suggestions?

    That’s odd, isn’t it? You ‘d think, with everything you’re doing to brown the crust, it would cooperate. My thought is that with a frozen pie, and a straight-sided tart pan (rather than a slanted pan), the center of the bottom is SO far in from the edge that it just can’t quite get hot enough in time to brown. I’d assume you don’t have this problem if the pie isn’t frozen? You may have to compromise and not freeze the pie if you’re going to bake it in the tart pan… I’d suggest taking it out of the pan and browning right on the stone, but that sounds like a potential disaster of oozing filling… PJH

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  27. jhwkdoc

    I am sorry, I did not specify in the earlier post but I am not fully freezing the pie. I only place the freshly made pie in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes after I make it before placing in the oven. The diameter of tart pan base is the same as my 9 inch metal pie pan. I follow the same basic guides you outline in making the pie. After I place the rolled out dough in the pan I place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. I then use 1-2 tablespoons of dried breadcrumbs on bottom before adding filling and top crust. Then freeze 20-30 min then the oven. I use KAF pie filling enhancer so the filling is not soupy when placed in the crust. Any ideas? Thanks for your help. JDG
    My suggestion is to par bake the crust. Blind bake the crust until it is set enough to remove the beans or pie weights. Continue to bake the crust until it has a little color. You can do this on your stone as you were doing. Allow to cool slightly to add filling and top crust or lattice and bake again. I have not tried to seal unbaked pie dough to a parbaked crust but it may work. You could instead do a crumb topping (that would avoid marrying the unbaked to the baked crust). I am with you, I love the presentation of a tart pan. I hope this will help! Elisabeth

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  28. jhwkdoc

    One last question if you would be so kind to answer. Most recipe books use a food processor when making pie dough. Why do you use a stand mixer? Do you feel you are less likely to overwork the dough? Is the mixing action more like hand rubbing the butter into the flour? Or is it simply the mixer can handle larger quantities? I am just curious why? Thanks for your help. JDG

    I’m figuring more people have a mixer than a food processor, especially one large enough to handle a double batch of pie dough. Food processor does work fine, though; I freeze my butter in a whole stick, and add it using the grating attachment of the food processor. then switch to the metal blade to add the water. PJH

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  29. tbj

    Question about the Pie Enhancer. I seem to keep using too much of it. For example, how much would be used for this recipe and what do you omit? Thanks, TBJ

    I’d try 1/3 cup Pie Filling Enhancer for this one – though SO much depends on the juiciness of the apples… If you find yourself always using too much, how about simply adding less than you think you should, next time? My general rule of thumb is that 1/4 cup flour translates to 1/3 cup Pie Filling Enhancer, as far as thickening power goes. Since the recipe you’re looking at has 2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and you seem to like a less-thick filling, I’m recommending the 1/3 cup enhancer. Good luck – PJH

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  30. Catharina

    Great recipe!! Baked the pie last weekend, my first attempt at baking a pie after 10 years. The crust dough recipe is also perfectly doable using hands, i did, from rubbing in the shortening and butter to combining the whole thing with ice water. The pie crust still turned out flaky as promised!!

    Catharina, welcome back to the wonderful world of pies! thanks for sharing your success here – PJH

    Reply
  31. susanfuller

    I made this pie last year and it came out perfect. However, when I made it this year the filling was runny and the bottom crust was underdone. I’m not sure what happened. I baked the pie in a stoneware deep dish pie plate so could not see the bottom of the crust. I relied on the color of the crust and the sound of the bubbling to determine doneness but this didn’t appear to work.

    I used flour as the thickener and did not use panko on the bottom crust, a tip I just learned about today….

    Thoughts or suggestions???
    If you only used flour and omitted the cornstarch in the recipe, that would have caused your filling to be too runny and in turn, cause your crust to become soggy from the excess liquid. Be sure to use the entire amount of thickening agent when making your pie filling. ~Amy

    Susan, you may also have used a different variety of apples this year – or the apples themselves, even if the same variety, may have been fresher and juicier. Also, a stoneware pan will bake more slowly, and won’t brown crust as thoroughly, as it doesn’t transmit heat as readily as metal. Did you perhaps use a metal pan last year? PJH

    Reply
  32. susanfuller

    I’m not sure now if I omitted the cornstarch or not. Last year when I had great success with the recipe I used the clear gel thickener. Also, last year I did use a glass deep dish pan, which may explain the underdone crust as PJH suggests.

    I agree the types and age of the apples could contribute to the problems I had with the filling. I used Ginger Golds for the first time this year, mixed with Granny Smiths.

    I think next time I will try cooking the filling on the stovetop as others have suggested and at least solve one issue. And maybe go back to the glass pie plate.

    One more question. Does baking the pie on a sheet pan affect how the bottom crust bakes?

    Thanks for all the great feedback.
    sf

    Depends on the sheet pan, Susan. If the pan is dark, it probably helps brown the crust (due to better heat absorption); if light/shiny, it probably insulates and keeps bottom crust from brownining as well as it might… PJH

    Reply
  33. DWgirl

    I have to bake 2 pies tomorrow and the only pies I’ve ever baked were pumpkin. Do you have any must-have tips for this common cake baker?

    A rolling pin is helpful. Beyond that, you need a good recipe for both crust and filling – might I suggest our Guaranteed Apple Pie? Check out the step-by-step photos in the blog, too. Good luck – and don’t forget, our baker’s hotline is ready and waiting should you run into any issues: 802-649-3717. PJH

    Reply
  34. Louie

    The recipe looks delicious, and as always, I appreciate the clear instructions and illustrations. I often wish my mother, always a challenged cook and baker, could have had this wonderful resource. Now, to the new look. The additions are fine, but what you took away disappoints me sooo much. Please bring back the ability to see titles of recent blogs. That was my favorite feature of the old blog, and ensured that I saw every blog I wished. Please, please bring it back!

    Reply
  35. Sharon Wormser

    Your recipe sounds wonderful. One of the things I’ve been doing with my apple pie, is sauteing the apples and spices in butter the night before, for about 20 minutes. Letting the apples sit overnight gives the flavors time to combine and make the pie outstanding when freshly baked the next day. This trick helped me win Best in Show at the Virginia State Fair a few years ago. My other trick is to add some of your pie enhancer to the apples which keeps the apples from getting too soupy.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You are giving all your secrets away, Sharon! It is always amazing to me how 2 people can make the same recipe and the outcomes will be different! Elisabeth

  36. Bonnie

    Pippin apples!!!
    I roll my dough on a floured sheet used exclusively for baking. To move the crust onto the pie plate, I lift the sheet to flip the end of the crust onto the rolling pin & holding the crust to the rolling pin with my thumbs, lift the crust up & set it into the pie plate.

    Reply
  37. b.lm

    Looks GOOD!! A child of the ’60`s and the daughter of ‘depression era’ parents every apple that ever fell off the tree was used for pie. One fall I made and sold over 120 pies. $7.00 a pie was high way robbery but who can argue with paying patrons? My all time favorite apple for pie is the granny smith. Here in the rural Midwest they are the most consistent for pie making.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We once made a pie with the apples that fell from our tree and that pie was pretty much, awful. I guess I am spoiled! I love to use a mixture of apples so I can get sweet, tart, soft and firm in every bite! Elisabeth

  38. Sarah Phillips

    I put a tablespoon of vinegar and an egg in the crust. It is easy to work with and comes out flaky too.
    No chilling needed and you can roll it out as many times as you wish.

    Reply
    1. Amy Trage

      I’m so sorry to hear this! It sounds like your crust may have had too much flour or perhaps it needed more water. The amount of hydration varies a lot with pie crusts. If you have any questions or need more assistance, please give us a call on the baker’s hotline. ~Amy

  39. David Johnson

    Not so sure about the crust recipe. I always replace about a third of the water with vodka and use just a bit more liquid than the recipe calls for. This allows you to make a fairly wet dough that is easy to roll out. The vodka evaporates real quick in the oven to the moisture level drops and the crust comes out real flaky.

    Another point is I think your recipe can lend itself to over mixing resulting in a hard crust. I think the trick is to keep the butter/shortening and water cold and don’t over mix it. I use a food processor to blend the flour and shortening just so the shortening is about the size of the pea. I then add the liquid and use just enough for the dough to come together, Then Stop! There is an old article in the American Test Kitchen magazine about blueberry pies that goes into the science behind this. Well worth researching if you want the perfect pie.

    Reply
  40. Patti

    Oh my, I am going to make this pie today…My wonderful mother-in-law taught me over 50 years ago to make an apple pie, how to roll the crust etc. however I love your newer ideas and will make my pie today. Thank you so much for the added ingredients and yummy.

    Reply
  41. Amanda Marmolejo

    Wondering if there would be a role for your instant clear gel. Would it be in addition to or sub it for the flour in the filling recipe? If so, what would be the negatives and positives of such and addition/substitution?
    Thanks guys! Love KAF! I would even work for free at your place…..seriously:)

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Amanda. I use ClearJel for pie fillings all the time. You could substitute 1 tablespoon of it for the flour; it has a tighter gel strength than flour does. You could use 2 to 3 tablespoons and nothing else to thicken the pie; just mix it with the sugar before adding to the fruit. It also thickens without being cooked, as you probably know, so you’ll have a thicker filling going into the pie shell. I like ClearJel because it’s freeze/thaw stable. If you have dreams of assembling a pie and freezing, unbaked, for later, ClearJel is the way to go. Susan

    1. Susan Reid

      Any apple pie can be made up and frozen before baking; it’s usually a good idea to either add a little bit more thickening or use a freeze-thaw stable ingredient like Instant ClearJel. As PJ says at the end of the post, best to thaw a frozen pie overnight in the refrigerator before baking. Susan

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      YAY Patrick! Now you’re all set for Thanksgiving, right? So glad we could give you a helping hand – PJH

  42. gigi

    Hi, I practiced my pie today for Thanksgiving. I’ve only ever made a few pies. My pie came out REALLY soupy. Its almost like poached apples with a bit of crust. I will make it without the apple juice concentrate next time. Is there anything else I can do so it is not so soupy (beside getting the Pie Enhancer)? Thank you for any advice.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Gigi, try combining the apples and sugar, and letting sit for about half an hour. Then pour into a saucepan, and simmer on the stove until a lot of the liquid has evaporated, and the mixture has thickened somewhat. Then add it to your crust, and bake; unless you’re using Cortlands or Macs, the apples should be sturdy enough that this double-cooking doesn’t turn them to mush. Good luck – PJH

  43. Paula

    Love all the photos. I have un-artistic slits in the top. I now have small cookie cutters to try out next time.I have been trying to get over my fear of making pie crusts. I think I am doing better. I canned pie filling in the summer, from our Granny Smiths and whatever our other trees are. So I just have to make or buy a crust, open a jar and put in the filling

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Great that you’re able to do that filling ahead of time, and from your own fruit, too, Paula. Good luck with the decorations – I think you’ll be pleased with the effect. PJH

  44. Kathy

    This pie sounds delicious, and I’m all set with the boiled cider. Can I substitute tapioca flour in place of the cornstarch and AP flour? If so, how will the results differ from the original blend? Would the tapioca flour be used in the same amount, i.e. 4Tbs of flour? Thanks and enjoy the Holidays!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Kathy, read our blog post Thickening Fruit Pies for lots of good information on the subject. I’m going to make an educated guess and say you should use 3 tablespoons tapioca and 2 tablespoons flour; or 4 tablespoons tapioca, if you’re not using flour. Let the filling rest for 30 minutes before using, so the tapioca can start doing its work. There are a TON of variables (variety of juiciness of the fruit, mainly) when thickening fruit pies; and it’s impossible to give exact substitutions, so no guarantees. But I think this will work – especially if you make sure to let pie cool completely (up to 4 hours or so) before slicing it. Good luck! PJH

  45. Herminia

    Last night I baked this pie but used cortland apples it took double the time to cook and the bottom was very soggy with so much juice flowing everywhere. The crust was delicious! I will try it again but will used the same apples you used for sure :)

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I hope you have more luck the next time around! Don’t forget we’re always happy to help you troubleshoot at the Baker’s Hotline 855-371-2253. Barb@KAF

  46. Theresa

    A great apple pie is my favourite. To add a little extra sweetness I usually mix in a chopped peach. The texture is almost the same as an apple but it gives the filling that extra syrup-like texture. My favourite apples to use are “Honey Crisp”.

    I posted a similar recipe on my blog – livingtoat.com

    Reply

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